This election is Canada’s opportunity to choose leaders who will put people first by investing in public health care, introducing a national pharmacare plan, and keeping seniors safe.
The pandemic put an undeniable strain on Canada’s health care system. Doctors, nurses, personal support workers and many others made incredible sacrifices, working impossible hours under very difficult — and dangerous — conditions. Their unwavering dedication to Canadians underscored the need for a robust health care system accessible to all.
Gaps in our health care system
While Canada fared better than some countries, the pandemic exposed tragic gaps in our system.
Our hospitals experienced the effects of years of understaffing, including delayed care for thousands, as COVID-19 cases spiked. Nearly 70 per cent of COVID-19 deaths in Canada happened in long-term care homes — the worst record among wealthy countries — with particularly poor outcomes in many privately-run facilities.
Even before the pandemic, 7.5 million Canadians – one in five people – either didn’t have prescription drug coverage or lacked enough coverage to pay for their medication. Things have only gotten worse because of COVID-19. Canadians desperately need a national pharmacare plan so that nobody is forced to choose between putting food on the table and buying the medication they need.
The pandemic also disproportionately impacted the way marginalized communities accessed health care services. People with disabilities, members of LGBTQ2+ communities, and youth struggled with access to health services, especially mental health supports. Those living in low-income neighbourhoods — many of whom are Indigenous, Black and racialized — were hospitalized at over twice the rate of those living in higher-income areas. These diverse neighbourhoods also experienced more than double the mortality rate of areas that are predominantly white.
Indigenous, Black and racialized people have also long experienced racial bias while interacting with the health care system. Their concerns and conditions are all too often misdiagnosed and dismissed due to harmful stereotypes — sometimes with tragic consequences — leading to mistrust of the health care system at often critical times.
This election is our opportunity to choose leaders who can help make sure these tragedies and patterns are not repeated. Leaders who will work to make life better for everyone — by disaster-proofing our public health care system against future crises while also improving and expanding access for all Canadians.
Conservatives will hold us back
The Conservatives don’t have the track record to see us through the pandemic. They reject national standards for long-term care homes and oppose a national pharmacare plan. They want to hold the country back when Canada needs to push forward. Erin O’Toole’s Conservatives aren’t on your side.
We need to close gaps laid bare by the pandemic and support a recovery that leaves no one behind. Government commitments to funding should keep our system universally accessible, publicly delivered, and based on need – not the ability to pay. It should protect our most vulnerable and include transitioning for-profit long-term care facilities like Revera to public ownership.